Tiramisù

I’m quite proud of my Tiramisù recipe; it’s always a winner with my family and friends and makes for an impressive finish to any dinner party. There’s no denying that Tiramisù is a rich dessert and thus I only make it once or twice per year. I use slim savoiardi biscuits so that the portions are not too large when I serve it.

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A proper Tiramisù is made with mascarpone and espresso coffee- not cream cheese and instant coffee! You also need some alcohol in the coffee mixture; I personally use marsala and French brandy but some other people use things like Tia Maria or Kahlua- the choice is up to you but I find marsala and brandy work really well together.

Tiramisù ingredients

It’s absolutely imperative that you make Tiramisù a day or two ahead of time. It tastes so much better and everything will set nicely if you do- otherwise the mascarpone mixture can be a bit runny. I like to serve Tiramisù with a couple of fresh strawberries when they’re in season.

This recipe will make one large tray of Tiramisù. I use a 35x24x5cm glass tray.

Ingredients

450ml espresso coffee

125ml marsala

50ml brandy

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

300g savoiardi biscuits (buy the slim-sized ones)

5 large free-range eggs, separated

100g caster sugar

500g mascarpone

100g dark chocolate, grated

Cocoa powder

Method

1. In a large bowl, pour in the coffee, marsala, brandy and vanilla essence and give it a stir.

2. Using an electric beater, beat the egg yolks and caster sugar in a separate bowl until light and fluffy. Then gently fold in the mascarpone using a spatula.

3. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, then fold into the mascarpone mixture.

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4. Dust the base of the glass tray with some cocoa powder and then sprinkle over some of the grated dark chocolate.

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5. Now quickly dip some of the savoiardi biscuits, one by one, in the coffee mixture. Ensure that you wet both sides of each biscuit but don’t over soak them or they will crumble.

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6. After quickly dipping each biscuit in the coffee mixture arrange them neatly in the tray. You may have to break a few of the biscuits so that they fit.

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7. Now spread some of the mascarpone mixture evenly over the biscuit layer.

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8. Now dust the mascarpone layer with cocoa powder and sprinkle over some more grated dark chocolate.

9. Then add another layer of biscuits that have been dipped in the coffee mixture, then spread the remainder of the mascarpone mixture on top and then dust the top with more cocoa powder and the remaining grated dark chocolate.

10. Cover the tray tightly with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving.

*If you’d like to use this recipe, please reference this blog- thank you!

Pistachio & mixed spice biscotti

I love biscotti as they’re great for dunking in tea or coffee and they’re not too sweet. They don’t have any milk or butter in them and you can use whatever type of nuts that you like best. Traditionally, biscotti are made with blanched almonds and vanilla essence (recipe coming soon) but now and then I like this combination as they’re more colourful (and pistachios are always a winner in my mind!)

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As the name suggests, biscotti are baked twice over a 2 day period (bis = again, cotti = cooked) so it’s worth doubling or tripling this recipe given the waiting time involved. I’ve been making biscotti for a good 10 years or so now and can list a number of things that you should watch out for when making them (from my silly mistakes!)

-Be very very VERY careful when separating the eggs! This may sound silly and obvious, but when you’re making a quadruple batch like I do and you accidentally drop in the 12th yolk, tears will ensue as any hint of egg yolks changes the texture of the biscuits (they’ll still be edible, but not as great as they can be).

-Don’t over beat your egg whites and don’t over mix the dough when you’re folding in the flour and nuts.

-Slice the biscotti thinly; thick biscotti won’t have the right texture.

-When you’re baking the biscotti for the second time, do NOT leave the kitchen. I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve checked on the biscuits, thought ‘hmm they’re still not crisp enough, I’ll leave them for a few more minutes’, then come back and BOOM they’re brown. They’re quite thin so it doesn’t take long for them to turn from great to burnt. So please watch them carefully!

Ingredients

1 cup plain flour, sifted

1/3 cup shelled pistachios

3 egg whites (from large, free-range eggs)

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 teaspoon mixed spice

Method

1.Preheat the oven to 150°C and line a 20 x 11cm loaf tin with baking paper.

2. Beat the egg whites with an electric beater until they are stiff.

3. Gradually add the sugar, beating until the mixture is thick, then add the mixed spice.

4. Fold in the sifted flour and the pistachios until the dough is just combined (don’t over do it).

5. Spoon into the loaf tin, forming a log shape, and bake for 35 minutes.

6. Turn out onto a wire rack and peel off the baking paper. Once it is cool, wrap in foil and leave to rest for 24 hours.

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7. The next day, preheat the oven again to 150°C. Remove the foil and slice the log as thinly as possible using a serrated knife (as below).

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8. Arrange the biscuits on ungreased baking trays (as below).

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9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crisp (do NOT let them turn brown). Once baked, transfer them to a wire rack and allow to cool.

10. Serve them with tea or coffee or store in an airtight container (they keep well for a few weeks-if they last that long!)

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*If you’d like to use this recipe please reference this blog- thank you!

Dried fig & walnut wholemeal muffins

These muffins are full of wholesome ingredients which make them a very satisfying snack. They’re great with a cup of tea or to have on the go!

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Makes 12 muffins.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups wholemeal self-raising flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts

1 cup rolled oats

6 dried figs, roughly chopped

1/2 cup boiling water

1 teaspoon bi-carb soda

1 free-range egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup natural yogurt

1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce

Method

1. Preheat oven to 190°C. Spray a muffin tin with olive oil spray or line it with paper muffin cases.

2. Put the figs into a small bowl and cover with the boiling water. Allow to soften for 5 minutes, then stir in the bi-carb soda.

3. Meanwhile in a large bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, rolled oats, brown sugar and walnuts. Make a well in the center.

4. In a separate bowl, mix together the apple sauce, egg, oil and yogurt. Add to the dry ingredients along with the fig mixture and stir until just combined.

5. Spoon into the muffin tin and bake for 30 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

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*If you like this recipe feel free to use it but please reference this blog- thank you!

Vegan chocolate cupcakes

Inspired by Not Quite Nigella’s Chocolatey Rich Vegan Chocolate Cake (which is amazing, try it!), these cupcakes are really easy to make and will keep for a few days in an airtight container. Makes 12 large cupcakes.

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Ingredients

2 1/2 cups plain flour

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup apple sauce

1 1/2 cups cold water

1/2 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons white vinegar

2 teaspoons bi-carb soda

100 grams vegan chocolate, finely chopped

Cocoa powder for dusting the cupcakes

Method

1. Preheat oven to 190°C. Place 12 large patty tins in a muffin pan.

2. In a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the centre.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the apple sauce, water, vinegar, olive oil and bi-carb soda. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture, add in the chopped chocolate and stir well to combine.

4. Spoon the mixture into the patty tins (fill them 2/3). Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

5. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the muffin pan and cool on a wire rack. Once cool, dust with cocoa powder.

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